Truck accidents are common, and even in minor accidents, victims can still sustain life-changing injuries and incur significant damage to their property. When drivers in passenger vehicles collide with a truck, they are at an increased risk of severe injury or death. These claims often involve significant damages, however, determining who was responsible for the crash is tricky and usually requires the assistance of a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident with a negligent truck driver, you shouldn’t have to worry about your financial future. Our experienced truck accident attorneys will work tirelessly to protect your rights and fiercely represent your case through every step of the claims process. Let our lawyers help you determine who you should file a claim against after being involved in a truck accident and help you recover the compensation you need and deserve to move forward.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Driving a truck can be challenging; they are large, complex vehicles to maneuver, making it hard for truck drivers to respond to a sudden change in the road. For this reason, truck drivers must receive special licensing and extensive training before getting behind the wheel of any commercial truck like a big rig or delivery truck. There are several reasons truck accidents can happen, and truck drivers should be aware of their vehicle’s hazards to smaller vehicles and their passengers.
Here are some of the most common causes of truck accidents.
#1. Driver Fatigue
The law sets out limitations on the number of hours truck drivers can work. Despite this, they often have demanding schedules and must be on the road for long hours. Trucking companies may even encourage drivers to work longer hours or drive faster than is safe by offering additional compensation. When drivers force themselves to stay awake instead of taking necessary breaks, it can lead to an avoidable accident.
#2. Distracted Driving
When truck drivers spend many hours behind the vehicle or drive long distances, they may become bored, inattentive, or distracted. This desire to alleviate boredom, even if the truck driver decides to take their eyes off the road to check their phone for a second, can create havoc on the road. The most common reasons for driver inattention include eating, making a call, sending a text message, drinking, or daydreaming. Even when a truck driver fiddles with the radio and tries to find a station they can listen to, it can lead to an accident.
#3. Driving Under the Influence
It is illegal for anyone who gets behind the wheel of any vehicle to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is not uncommon for some truck drivers to turn to certain substances that may help keep them awake on their journey. It is also illegal to consume prescription or over-the-counter drugs as they may inhibit the driver from maneuvering the truck properly.
Because of the size and weight of their vehicles, commercial truck drivers must meet a higher standard than drivers in passenger vehicles. Due to the increased risk posed by large trucks, safety is of the utmost importance, and when a trucker drives under the influence, they put themselves and others at risk.
#4. Inadequate Training
A driver must undergo critical training and receive special licensing before getting behind the wheel of a truck. Because of the high demand for truck drivers, some trucking companies do not adequately train their drivers, which may lead to severe accidents.
Training for truck drivers should include teaching the driver to share the road with smaller vehicles and helping them handle situations that may be challenging. When trucking companies don’t invest the necessary time to train their drivers properly, their driver’s inexperience may lead to an accident.
#5. Lack of Maintenance
A truck driver and the trucking company they are employed by must ensure that their vehicles are safe and fully operational. Maintaining a truck or a fleet of trucks in a safe condition can cost money and time, so some trucking companies cut corners.
However, the law requires them to maintain their trucks in top condition before sending them out on the road. Failure to do this can result in a devastating accident, and the trucking company or truck driver may be held liable for their negligence.
#6. Driving Over the Speed Limit
Truck drivers are often under pressure to meet deadlines, or they may face losing their job. This demand usually results in truck drivers going over the speed limit trying to reach their destination within a specific period. Factors like poor weather conditions or congested traffic may make it more difficult for a truck driver to reach their destination on time, but speeding is never worth the risk of causing an accident.
When a truck driver is traveling at high speeds, braking suddenly or moving into another section of the road is often tricky. Speeding significantly reduces a truck driver’s reaction time, and any changing road conditions can result in the driver causing an accident.
Compensation Available in Truck Accident Claims
The aftermath of most truck accidents where smaller passenger vehicles are involved is typically devastating. Occupants of smaller vehicles often sustain serious injuries and face extensive damage to their property. Accident victims involved in collisions with large trucks may even face permanent disability that makes it difficult or impossible to return to work.
In the aftermath of a truck accident, medical costs and vehicle repair or replacement expenses can quickly become overwhelming. Consulting a skilled truck accident attorney who can help you recover financial compensation for your losses can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
If you were in an accident with a negligent truck driver, you deserve economic compensation for your injuries and damages that resulted from the crash. The first thing you should do if you are involved in a truck accident is to seek the appropriate medical care as soon as possible.
An experienced truck accident lawyer can help prove that the negligent acts of the liable party or parties in your case directly contributed to the accident that led to your injuries. There are two categories of damages your lawyer will seek in your claim; these include economic and non-economic damages.
Some common damages a victim may seek in a truck accident lawsuit include:
These damages are related to financial losses you’ve experienced due to an accident with a negligent truck driver.
Some examples of these losses are:
- Medical costs (including future expenses)
- Auto repair or replacement costs
- Lost income or wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Any out-of-pocket costs related to the accident
These losses are not as simple to quantify; however, they are just as significant as economic compensation for the accident victim’s tangible losses. The term, non-economic damages, refers to intangible losses that impact the victim’s everyday life.
Some examples of these losses are:
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Permanent Disability
- Loss of consortium
- Diminished quality of life
In cases where a negligent truck driver engages in malicious, exceptionally negligent, or egregious behavior, the court may award punitive damages to deter others from exhibiting similar actions in the future. Our truck accident attorneys are prepared to thoroughly investigate the specific details of your claim to recover the maximum amount of compensation for your losses.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
After a truck accident, time is of the essence. Take the following steps after a truck accident to adequately protect your rights.
Here are a few things you should do after a truck accident:
- Report the crash: If you were involved in a truck accident, it is illegal to leave the crash site until the police arrive. The investigating officer will complete an accident report, this report can serve as a crucial piece of evidence in your claim, and you should request a copy of the report.
- Schedule a medical evaluation: Even if you have not sustained any apparent injuries or feel fine after a truck accident, it is still essential to seek medical treatment. The adrenaline you experience in the aftermath of the accident may prevent you from feeling symptoms of specific injuries. Symptoms of internal injuries, for instance, may not make themselves apparent for several days. A medical professional’s evaluation is also essential to your truck accident case, and waiting too long may work against you.
- Exchange information with all other parties involved: Get the name, address, phone numbers, email, driver’s license number, insurance information, and the truck driver’s company information.
- Take pictures or videos of the accident scene: Photograph all property damage sustained to any vehicles involved in the accident. You may also want to take detailed notes of your recollection of the accident and how your injuries have affected your everyday activities.
- Contact your insurance company: Call your insurance company and file a first-party claim as soon as possible. Never admit fault and refrain from going into detail; the insurance adjuster can and will use anything you say against you. An experienced truck accident attorney can speak with insurance adjusters involved in your case on your behalf to prevent you from saying anything that may affect your ability to get covered.
- Call an experienced truck accident attorney: If you hope to understand better what your truck accident claim is worth, take a proactive stance in your case by scheduling an initial consultation with a truck accident lawyer. Our attorneys understand the devastating impact of a truck accident and have the right tools to investigate the accident and identify all liable parties in your case.
What are some common types of injuries in truck accidents?
Occupants in passenger vehicles involved in a collision with a truck driver often sustain multiple, serious injuries. Some of the most common injuries after a truck accident include head injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, whiplash, back injuries, or nerve damage, to name a few.
What is the value of my truck accident case?
Because every truck accident case is unique, there is no set answer to this question. Working with an experienced truck accident lawyer is the best way to estimate the potential settlement value of your case. Factors that will determine the value of your claim include the damage sustained to your vehicle, any medical expenses, lost income, wages, or loss of consortium.
How long will my truck accident case take to settle?
It may take more time than you expect to resolve your truck accident injury claim. Despite this, take care and refrain from accepting a quick offer from the insurance company. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you determine if the insurance company is offering a lowball settlement and negotiate for additional compensation on your behalf if necessary.
Why shouldn’t I just accept the insurance company’s settlement offer?
Insurance companies are well known for offering accident victims lowball settlements to protect their bottom line. Truck accidents can cause severe injuries and property damage. Determining the compensation needed to cover a lifetime of expenses for your injuries can require difficult calculations. A truck accident lawyer can make a list of all the damages you’re entitled to and estimate the potential value of your settlement award.
Who can I sue after a truck accident?
If you or a loved one incurred injuries in a truck accident, you can sue anyone responsible for causing the crash, including the trucking company. One or more potentially liable parties may contribute to the accident in truck accident cases. Consulting a truck accident lawyer is the best way to determine who the at-fault party or parties are in your case.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer About Your Case Today
Insurance companies are in the business of getting accident victims to settle for less than what their case is worth. If you or a loved one suffered injuries caused by a negligent truck driver, a truck accident lawyer can protect your rights against the insurance company’s tactics. Let us ensure that you receive the compensation you need and deserve to cover the cost of your losses.